Shehr-e-Zaat (Urdu: شہرذات; lit: City of Self ) is a novel by Pakistani fiction writer Umera Ahmed published in 2002. A blog at the Express Tribune describes the story as a fictional story with elements of spiritualism and philosophy. The story tells about the obsession with ones, with worldly life forgetting its creator, a journey from self to subsistence.
Umera Ahmed is one of the most widely-read and popular Urdu fiction novelist and screenplay writer of this era. She began her writing career in 1998 at a quite young age. Her initial stories were published in monthly Urdu digests and later came out in the form of books. She has written about 16 books, comprising of complete novels and compilations of short stories. However, it was her novel “Peer-e-Kaamil (S.A.W.W)” which became her identity.
The story revolves around an arrogant, class-conscious and narcissistic Falak Sher Afgan an only child to very rich parents. She fell in love with Salman after seeing him at her friend’s wedding ceremony, Falak tries every way to get in touch with Salman. She faked her presence as a coincident at a shopping mall while following him and then she started meeting him. Salman couldn’t resist her beauty and affection which makes him in love with her from head over heels too.
Belonging to the elite class she has always been the center of attention and never been deprived of anything. She never came across through religious brightness and divinity. Falak’s mother, Memoona built her subsistence according to the worldly life. Finally, Falak manages to get married to Salman, and they live happily together, initially, Salmans proves to be a good husband despite his father in law, Sher Afgan’s reservations.
Life was luxurious and full of joy but destiny decides doom for Falak when Salman falls in love with an uneducated an crass employee Tabinda at his factory with whom he begins an extramarital relationship. Falak decides to meet Tabinda and confront her. Upon seeing her unattractive physical appearance and crassness, she goes into a state of shock and eventually suffers from a major nervous breakdown. She comes back to consciousness with a broken heart and for the first time in life looks at her tragedy from a different perspective. Instead of craving for Salman’s lost love, she ponders over the power of destiny. The fact that Salman preferred Tabinda, an ugly looking woman with a loose character over her, forces her to go through a journey of self-discovery. She comes across bitter realities and learns the true purpose of life while receiving Islamic perceptions from self to subsistence. Falak finally adapts simplicity, patience, and humbleness, she brought quietness in her life and manages to get rid of unnecessary worldly and hollow pursuits. She eventually accepts Salman back in her life after Tabinda leaves him but without her previous obsession.